Andrea Babington has just graduated with her diploma in funeral directing. Photo: Kate Russell.

Finding new life in death


Nelson’s Andrea Babington didn’t know she wanted to be a funeral director until the unthinkable happened.

She lost her brother and two grandparents – all in a ten-month period.

At the time, Andrea was in her mid-20s and the one thing that resonated with her during the funeral planning process was the way her family was supported by their funeral director.

“We had the same funeral director for all their services, and I was just amazed at the empathy, patience, wisdom and guidance he gave us through that tough time,” she says.

“I thought, ‘one day, that’s what I want to do’.”

She has now been working in the industry for seven years and has just graduated with her diploma in funeral directing.

Andrea was alongside 22 other graduates from the Wellington Institute of Technology, who are the only providers of the diploma.

“It’s huge for me. I’m immensely privileged to have had the opportunity to undertake formal training,” says Andrea, who is a funeral director at Simplicity Funerals Nelson.

“I have put an immense amount of time into my studies and my family and the team here at Simplicity Funerals have been nothing but supportive.”

Andrea says it has always been her goal to gain the qualification.

“It has given me a deeper knowledge and has made me think more about the way in which I do things,” she says.

“It has also given me a really strong foundation in the practices, legalities and the psychology of bereavement.”

And although it’s not a career path many people follow, Andrea says it’s the perfect fit, as her own personal journey has given her an enriched empathy when connecting with families.

“People often say, ‘you must be a special kind of person to do your job’, but I just feel blessed that life has brought me to this place where my experiences give my career meaning and purpose.

“I don’t see my role as a job – it as a vocation and an immense privilege.”